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Drop-in February 27, 2018

Merivale Gardens Drop In - February 27, 2018
What do you like about living in Merivale Gardens? and Do you have any suggestions that could make it an even better place to live?
These questions will be part of a short group discussion at our second Merivale Gardens Drop-in event.  You are invited to drop in, have a cup of coffee or tea and chat. Reconnect and discover new friends amongst your many neighbours.  Joining us for this event, we are very pleased to welcome Rod Vanier, President of the Merivale Gardens Community Association. At our last event held in January we had over 30 attendees.
Where: 38 Vaan Drive 
When:  February 27th..
Time:    from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Notes from the meeting:

February 27th Drop-In Notes 

(Summary of comments received from two separate discussion groups) 

Why do we like living in Merivale Gardens 

  • Feels like we live out in the country despite being surrounded by the city 
  • Many wildlife sightings – wild turkeys (though they seemed to have disappeared for the winter), a recent sighting of an owl, lots of rabbits, coyotes 
  • It feels like home 
  • Residents are friendly – happy to greet you when you are out walking 
  • Plenty of space for children to play. Love the park. 
  • Sense of safety – Parents feel that their children are safe to play outside without a lot of direct supervision. Residents feel comfortable to walk in the neighbourhood at all hours of day or night. 
  • Very beautiful scenery in a community surrounded by forest 
  • Choice of many trails to enjoy - hiking, skiing or snowshoeing both behind the Sportsplex and our special ones in the dunes. 
  • Sense of peacefulness in the community 
  • No street lights, and no cement sidewalks 
  • A good multigenerational mix of residents – combination of seniors and young families 
  • Community came together to help each other 20 years ago after the ice storm 
  • No interest by developers to operate in the community due to lack of water and sewer hookups. (Also, with the high cost for hookup, $50,000 to $70,000 plus extra for inside plumbing, and the fact that the current tests for well water seem to be very good, no one in the group discussing the issue seemed interested in converting.) 

How can we make it a better place to live? 

  • Make streets more walkable in winter. 
    • Sanding: When the streets are icy, the usual practice for the city snow clearing crews has been to distribute the sand only down the middle of the streets leaving the sides very icy. It is too slippery for some to get from their driveway to the middle of the road making it difficult to get to the mailbox or to their neighbours or even to take their dog for a walk. Because only the middle of the road is sanded, people will naturally walk down the middle. However, they feel uncomfortable doing so, due to their concern with traffic both oncoming and coming from behind. To let traffic pass they need to walk carefully over to the very icy sides. As well, effort should be made to ensure that the sanding crew do not forget to sand the dead end at the end of Arco Way. Keith would check on the sanding policy and who is doing the work. Snow clearing and sanding are often contracted out. 
    • Reverse Clearing: Keith mentioned the pilot project of reverse clearing so the snow is pushed to alternating sides which keeps snowbank heights lower (or at least equal on both sides of the road). Keith would look into having this expanded to Merivale Gardens. 
    • Large snow mounds at ends of driveways: There also was the concern expressed about some commercial snow removal contractors leaving a large pile at the end of the driveway which extends onto the roads making the roads even narrower. This can be a barrier for seniors to walk especially since there are no sidewalks. 
  • Improve communication. Suggestions include: 
    • Create a phone and address directory of residents living in Merivale Gardens who wish to be more connected with each other. Residents could be asked by the person collecting their annual dues in May if they would like to be on this directory. 
    • Create a directory of people within the community who would be willing to help out with odd jobs. Perhaps young high school students can volunteer to help out. It would be an opportunity for them to earn their 40 hours of volunteer experience. 
    • Update Merivale Gardens Web site with information on people interested in ride sharing as well as those within the community willing to help out with odd jobs. 
  • Improvement of Roads: The deteriorating nature of our local road conditions and of course the potholes was discussed. Keith indicated that extra funds were allocated to the 2018 budget for infrastructure improvement. Not all of it was going to roads, as certain parks and sidewalks were higher in priority for upgrades. He indicated that the city had a scorecard for road maintenance needs. He was asked where Merivale Gardens fit on this? Keith agreed to check on this. 
  • Removal of dead or damaged trees along the roadways: It took a long time for the one in front of 40 Vaan drive to be removed, with city inspection in the early summer and actual removal in October. Keith explained that non-emergency tree removal operations are usually done in the late fall. The residents are concerned that the trees could be dangerous to cars and pedestrians. It was mentioned that fallen tree branches were the cause of the power outage in October. 
  • Flooding Avoidance: A suggestion was made to do a review of the “storm water” drainage system (plan) for the community. Over the years changes have been made to the ditches or the landscaping which have changed the surface and underground water flow. The October downpour, with the ground already saturated from the record rainfall that occurred that summer, caused flooding in some basements and resulted in a lot of water pooled in some yards. Some people were actually forced to pump the water from their yards onto the streets as there was no other way of clearing the pools. The suggestion was made that there should be some funds available from the city to clear ditches and culverts and perhaps do a more extensive review of the community to manage (funnel) the storm water. 
  • Signage replacement: It was suggested that the Merivale Gardens signs located on both ends of Vaan Drive be replaced by new ones. 
  • Install Regular bus route (only peak weekday exists now). It is a long walk to the nearest stop (on average 1.5km) at the Nepean Sportsplex. As seniors age and stop driving, the bus transportation becomes more essential. Keith explained the rationale for the dropping of the regular route – low ridership. The idea of putting on special shuttles to bring seniors to/from special events, the Nepean Sportsplex (Seniors Centre or athletic Centre) or to Senior’s programs in other nearby locations was raised. 
  • Community centre: There was a discussion about the need for a community centre that could serve the residents of Merivale Gardens as well as the residents of Grenfell Glen, Pine Glen and Country Place. Both Manordale and Tanglewood have their own space. 

A sincere thanks to all who participated in these discussions. We and the community all benefit from the sharing of ideas.